The Yin Yang symbol is circle with two interlocking teardrop shapes in complimentary colors with a dot on each side. It’s used in popular culture, but it is a core Chinese philosophy. The Yang side represents positivity, firmness, masculinity, substantiality, brightness, day, and heat. The Yin side represents negativity, softness, femininity, insubstantiality, darkness, and coldness.
Excerpt from Book 1 Chapter 28 of the Tao Te Ching:
“Know the masculine, but keep to the feminine. And be a valley to the realm….If you are a valley to the realm then constant virtue will be complete and you will return to the uncarved block. The uncarved block is cut into vessels wise men use them as rulers of vessels, the great cutter does not cut away.” Read the full version here
Bruce Lee could take heady philosophy and physicalize it, giving it a purpose in a human context, and illustrating it in an entertaining way. Instead of viewing the Yin and Yang as opposites, Bruce would say that they are complimentary to each other. He said that the basic theory in Yin Yang is that “nothing is so permanent as to never change.”
Bruce’s core symbol for Jeet Kune Do is a modified Yin Yang symbol that he added to. He added two arrows around the Yin Yang to represent the continuous interplay of the two parts and a Chinese phrase around the arrows that says: “Using no way as way, Having no limitation as limitation.”
Bruce had his friend George Lee create 4 plaques that showed the stages of a man's cultivation: Partiality, Fluidity, Emptiness, and the core symbol for Jeet Kune Do. Bruce incorporated his version of the Yin Yang into his martial arts practice by not only learning hardness and toughness, but gentleness and softness, as sometimes you need to flow with your opponent’s energy as opposed to always stopping or hitting.
Yin and Yang are in harmonious relationship with one another. “Taoism is a philosophy of the essential unity of the universe, of the leveling of all difference, the relativity of all standards, and the return of all to the one. The divine intelligence, the source of all things. From this naturally arise the absence of desire for strife, contention, and the fighting for advantage. It emphasizes non-resistance and the importance of gentleness.”
“Fluidity leads to interchangeability, self knowledge leads to awareness, totality leads to ultimate freedom.”
What extremes are you holding on to? When you’re in conflict, can you to hold on to your point of view, yet soften to hear the other person? Whatever your position is, it is half of the Yin Yang symbol, try and soften to see the other side.
If you’d like to share how you’re doing with this action item on Yin Yang, email us at email@example.com or on social @BruceLee.
#AAHA (Awesome Asians and Hapas)
This week’s #AAHA is Cary Fukunaga, an American film director, writer, and cinematographer, and his recommendation comes to us from his childhood friend. Cary is known for directing Sin Nombre, Jane Eyre, HBO’s season 1 of True Detective, and Netflix’s Beasts of No Nation. On Beasts of No Nation he was the writer, director, cinematographer, and producer, which reminds us how Bruce Lee would write, produce, and direct his own work. Cary, we admire your mastery, artistry, storytelling, and hard work, keep being awesome!
Read his friend’s wonderful email recommendation in our show notes on our website.
This week’s #BLM is from Tory Elena, here’s an excerpt, read her full moment in our show notes online:
“I grew up practicing martial arts with my family and my father and I shared a love for Bruce Lee’s films…I’ve rekindled my passion for martial arts and studying the philosophy and words Bruce left behind for the world….As a professional creative I use the JKD motto as a mantra in my life, “Using no way as way. Having no limitation as limitation.” “
Share your #AAHAs and #BruceLeeMoments with us via social media @BruceLee or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org